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You’ve Got to Try This Southern-Style Shrimp Salad

- Photo: Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: Torie Cox
Photo: Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Y’all, it has bacon in it.

Whether served on a roll or atop a bed of lettuce, shrimp salad is an essential dish in the South, especially in the summer, when the heat puts us in the mood for light, cool dishes.

Usually made with mayonnaise, celery, and a generous sprinkling of Old Bay seasoning, Southern-style shrimp salad needs no improvement. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tinker with the formula a bit. And sometimes when you tinker, you end up with an entirely new recipe that rivals the original. Like our Shrimp and Bacon Sliders.

Created by Sheri Castle, these little sandwiches are filled with the most delicious shrimp salad we’ve ever tasted. While the usual suspects are there—shrimp, mayonnaise, Old Bay—there are several surprising new ingredients in the mix too. The mayonnaise dressing is upgraded with chopped fresh basil, lemon and orange juice, lemon zest, and diced crispy bacon.

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Instead of overpowering the delicate flavor of the shrimp, these clever additions work together in perfect harmony. Any seafood dish is improved with a little acidity, and the citrus does just that. The fresh basil brightens up the dressing and adds a little color and complexity. The bacon adds a savory note and the crunchiness you would normally get from chopped celery. (Let’s face it, bacon is better than celery.) And the Old Bay brings everything together with hints of celery salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

The recipe calls for the dressing to be tossed with ¾ pound chilled cooked shrimp (look for Gulf shrimp) that have been peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces. The salad is served on buttery toasted slider buns topped with sliced tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. That’s a pretty incredible combination, but for an even more luxurious meal, you can swap out the shrimp for chilled cooked lobster. Either way, don’t miss this recipe—it may replace your traditional shrimp salad for good. (Not that there’s anything wrong with it!)

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